A classic show of strength from the mighty Katsuhiro Otomo, delving into the dangers of overpopulation, globalization and the rush for technology, and it's all told from the viewpoint of a culture that is still shaken up by the atomic bombings in 1945.
Now about the comic itself, basic story's simple: unstable psychic kid blows up Tokyo, World War III happens, skip 30 years later and a biker gang has to save Neo-Tokyo before it happens again at the hands of the mysterious Colonel and his organization, who begin to experiment on one of them.
Akira is beautiful, terrifying, surreal and brutal - which can happen all at once. It's a satire of the 1960's student demonstrations in Japan which influenced the rebellious nature of it's mainly adolescent cast. Otomo's visuals are striking and defy the confines of western comics - rather, opting for more action by reducing the dialogue so you get a cinematic experience.
Try Akira, read it before you watch the animated film, and before they ruin it with that live-action film set in Neo-Manhattan, produced by Leonardo DeCaprio! DeCaprio!!!?